Shakti perspectives: Tiara
When it comes to the younger generation, I feel like it is hard for us (or at least some) to acknowledge the effects of mental health’s “taboo” nature in South Asia. I know I’ve experienced the phenomena of, “if we don’t understand it then it doesn’t exist”. I found it hard to tell my relatives I was diagnosed with depression. I don’t think many of them realised. Furthermore, I wish we would normalise therapy and prioritising alone time. I feel as if we, (desi people) smother negative emotions, whether it be to appear “fine” at face value, or to perpetuate a certain image for reputation purposes. Because of this it’s hard to truly find time for ourselves, to ease our minds. I really hope that through breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, desi kids and adults realise that you are not weak for feeling a certain way, but human.
I have also come to terms with the fact that, as much as I hoped some elders would understand mental health issues. They do not. And that is not ok, but it is the reality. The ones who reject the existence of mental health issues, are most likely repressing their respective trauma and issues.
There are a few tasks I practice for selfcare which support my mental health; I ignore my phone, I don’t read work emails as soon as they’re sent to me, I like to take five minutes to process who it’s from, whether I’m mentally prepared to answer, or do the task prescribed, I watch nostalgic movies (preferably Bollywood), I listen to music and lay in my bed and enjoy going on walks.
I have a HORRIBLE habit of working, even if I am tired, had a rough day or need time to myself. Its a paradox, really, and sometimes I fall into this habit, especially if I feel like I need to be doing something. However, during lockdown I have started practicing more self-care. This lockdown has given me time to look at my life both prospectively and retrospectively. To see how far I’ve come and how much I am going to do or want to pursue, and I’m really grateful for that. As difficult as it is.
I am immensely privileged to have the friends and family I do have. Many of them kept me going through very difficult times. It sounds cliche, but whenever I feel depressed, I think about my nieces, a fun memory with friends or just listen to music. During Sydney’s lockdown period its been especially difficult, but I am grateful for social media.
My advice to those struggling is to speak your mind, release your thoughts; whether it be on paper, through music, to someone you trust, please speak. It is difficult. It is so so difficult to free yourself from the constraints of society. You are often told to be modest, be quiet, to be thin, to be like your cousin or sister, and this, in conjunction with every other struggle you go through, is overbearing. But speaking is freeing.